When the trailer first came out, it was already enough to make testicles explode all over the Internet. It had all the good stuff — impossible physics, kung fu, time travel, scratchy video quality, vikings with machineguns, Hitler doing Tae Bo, the MicroBee, and tons of desert chrome. It was one of those Kickstarter projects that seemed too good to be true, and it even more seemed so like those other 2012 Kickstarters when things quieted down after the initial hype. Then came this half-hour donkey punch that makes no damn sense, but is so damn good.
Just look at it, then try telling yourself again that there are things that are just impossible. This thing got made, so how can anything else be impossible? Why did it take over 30 fucking years to make the perfect 80s movie?!
NOTE: The following makes no goddamn sense, just like the film (which is the point in the first place). If you want to save time, skip directly to the conclusion; that’s the only coherent part of this whole blog post.
How is it Any Good?
In hindsight, how could it not have been awesome? They had updates on Facebook and Instagram that showed indications of things going right. It wasn’t exactly like a lot of other indie film projects that only had one man with a camcorder rubbing his brow under the hot noon sun while his wife made sandwiches for lunch so the crew doesn’t go on strike and arson the set.
What they did have that’s similar to Average Filmmaker Joe’s shindig is the intentional lack of regard for cohesive storytelling. It’s straight out of a third-grader’s notebook; starts out kind of innocently enough, then “BOOM! LOGIC OUT THE WINDOW.” There is no need to lean on straight real-world logic at all, they could just literally take E=mc2 and turn the square into a cube to facilitate time travel (which should make your eyeballs pop if you understand physics).
There’s no way to properly put spoilers in this review since no one sane or sober can ever figure out whatever the hell is going on without watching the damn thing anyway. It’s not Expendables 2 cheesy either; this is a different level of cheesy where every single thing is so over-the-top that it’s all perfectly acceptable. There’s little to no cringeworthy moment since you’d be too busy being mesmerized by such a spectacle.
When you start looking at this film like a 9-year-old boy who goes “pew pew” whenever he shoots imaginary laser blasters would, then everything makes complete sense. When the chips are down, of course something happens that transports everyone there to help. There’s an animated sequence because there has to be animated sequence where Kung Fury defies death by arresting his spirit animal, of course.
… and of course it hints a sequel.
Whoever the cast are, they’ve done a good job; all of them, including Triceracops, Barbarianna, Kung Fuhrer Hitler, and Thor who isn’t Chris Hemsworth. David Sandberg, who is also the writer and director (go figure, dude’s a nutcase), stars as the kung fu cop Kung Fury. He’s basically Max Payne with a bandana in this film; both have deep monotone voices, both lost someone close to them, and both are thirsty for revenge. The only difference is that Kung Fury could have made Max Payne a much shorter game.
The production value is definitely good here, including the deliberate video artifacts. Also, even if the story and pacing is supposed to make no sense, the elements strewn throughout this half-hour short film are well-thought-out. While it does shotgun everything in your face, at least each spread is spaced evenly enough that you don’t miss out on the little details that add so much to this thing.
It’s crazy, but kind of smart at the same time. How the hell is that even possible?
My Reaction to Kung Fury
What can I say to convince you that reading about how I reacted to this short film can add to your experience? If I can answer that question, I can convince people to read and watch my reviews as well. (Just a bit of self-reflection there on where I want this website to go.)
The most awesome character for me is definitely “Thunderbro” Thor, as I’d like to call him. He definitely puts time in the gym in Asgard, and he’s not shy to charge for tickets to the gun show. Triceracop, the gentleman beat cop, is also pretty cool. I also like Barbariana’s… face paint… and personality…
My favorite part is definitely the two Nazi officers talking about their mustaches. I was looking for a part that seems off-beat compared to everything else, as I usually do with any other film I watch. All the little details, including the props they used like the Power Glove and the MicroBee, help with completing the whole 80’s vibe.
You see how my writing has degenerated into this mess because of Kung Fury. There’s no way to accurately describe it in writing, but that’s mostly a good thing in this case.
Compared to POWER/RANGERS, the other short film that came out this year to viral popularity online, this one has a lot more meat to sink your teeth into. Of course, POWER/RANGERS is a fan film slash reinterpretation of Power Rangers, so that one has a different vibe to it. In my opinion, they’re both triumphs of passion and inner childishness.
It’s a love letter to everything a so-called responsible grown-up (grumps) with little to no sense of humor stands against, written in crayon and filled with drawings of dinosaurs shooting eye lasers. Kung Fury is about encouraging one’s inner childishness to never waver, despite this drab and miserable existence.
Every once in a while, if we’re lucky, we get to see something so cool that it moves us, and that’s a good thing since we can take off our sensible caps for a bit and just have fun.
Growing up is essential, but it’s good to be a kid every once in a while. That’s what I take away from Kung Fury.
Before you close this, watch this music video by The Hoff, made specifically for this film. You need this in your life RIGHT NOW. (Video and blog post on another Kung Fury-related product coming shortly.)